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South Korea, China Leaders May Meet Amid Nuclear Fears

Leaders of South Korea and China may hold talks in the next few months, amid concerns North Korea could soon conduct a fourth nuclear test.

South Korean government officials told VOA Korean Service on Monday that South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Chinese President Xi Jinping likely will hold a summit before July in Seoul. Officials said specific dates have not been finalized, but an announcement on the meeting could come soon.

The reports come less than a year after Park’s visit to Beijing last June. Officials say the talks are part of the two countries’ efforts to curb North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

On a visit last week to Seoul, U.S. President Barack Obama warned "Pyongyang will gain absolutely nothing from another nuclear test, except to deepen its isolation from the international community."

The U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies says the most recent satellite images of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site show activity "probably related to preparations for a detonation."

It said the images, taken on April 23, showed "probable command and control vehicles" parked in the main support area of the test site, noting similar vehicles were spotted in the area prior to Pyongyang's February 2013 test.

Diplomatic sources in Seoul say Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is set to visit South Korea soon to discuss the agenda for the summit between the Chinese and South Korean presidents.

Despite being a long-time ally of North Korea, China has put pressure on the country to resume six nation talks aimed at denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.
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    Jee Abbey Lee

    Jee Abbey Lee is a veteran broadcast journalist with more than 10 years of experience in TV, radio, and the web. She serves as Voice of America's social media correspondent and is an expert of millennial lifestyle. 

    Lee received her graduate degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Prior to joining VOA, she worked at the Seoul bureau of CNN Travel and served as the chief Bank of Korea correspondent for Arirang TV.